This is a follow up to my previous twitter article. This time I am going to look at the available Twitter tools and how to increase your follower count – and how not to try increasing follower count!
The Twitter website is still the best place to get a good start and get used to the whole Twittering thing. This fancy graph here shows that over half of all tweets are still made from the Twitter website. There are two main problems with the website – it is often very slow, and the timelines don’t update in real time as people post messages.
As a result, many other people have written programs or web pages to solve common Twitter problems. Twitter provides the Twitter API which is a way for outside programs to access Twitter’s data – both the posts and the following/follower data. If you are a programmer and are interested, there is a ton of documentation for the Twitter API.
HootSuite is a web-based client that is worth mentioning. Its interface is better in some ways than the Twitter site, but its main power is the ability to manage multiple Twitter accounts if you need it. You can quickly switch back and forth between multiple accounts.
List Management Tools
The one I use the most is Twitter Karma. This shows you a big list (with or without the avatars) of all your followers and following. You can look at your lists and filter by showing just those following you or just those you are following. Then you can easily select a bunch of people and bulk follow or bulk unfollow. This is a great way to find all the new people who followed you and follow them back in a few clicks instead of having to click “follow” on everyone one by one.
TweetStats is a fun website to get stats about Twitter in general and your own tweets specifically. By plugging in your username it will give you statistics about your posts. Also, you can view general Twitter stats showing top tweeters and a breakdown of what tools are being used to post tweets.
There are whole other categories of tools which I won’t go into here. I found this list of 140+ tools which has some really odd and niche tools. The post is almost a year old so some of the links don’t work any more, but still has a lot of good info.
Basically, if you have a need or a way you want to use Twitter, someone has probably written a tool for it. A quick search should turn something up.
If you have a tool you can’t live without or something I majorly missed, comment and be sure to let me know.
Increasing Your Followers Count
Add yourself to John Chow’s TwitterFollower list. Then go through all the pages and follow everyone there. Yes it is time consuming, but this is still a very easy way to get a lot of followers. I did this on another account and have 200 followers after only 1 day without following anyone on the list – just followed back the ones who followed me. (I am going to follow everyone there, just haven’t yet!)
Find lists like this of people who will follow back. Follow as many people on the list as you can and wait for them to follow back.
Follow a bunch of people and hope that some of them follow you back. After some time, unfollow anyone who hasn’t followed you back and then repeat the process. You need to be careful here because this is getting close to spamming and should be done right. Here are some basics to stay on people’s good side:
- Give people time to follow back. I suggest at least 24 hours. Remember that the people may be on the other side of the world from you and be sleeping when you start following them.
- Try to find people with something in common. Do searches on #topics that interest you, follow your follower’s followers, etc. I search #vegetarian #mountainbike and #austin regularly.
- Keep track of what you are doing so you don’t follow, unfollow, follow, unfollow, etc. the same people.
A good tool like Hummingbird can help you manage this process.
What NOT To Do
The worst thing to do is follow a bunch of people, get people to follow back, and then unfollow them. Sometimes called “Twitter Spam”, this is hugely frowned upon and most people will unfollow you when they recognize what you have done.
The best way to get followers is to actually use Twitter. Do searches on topics that interest you, find posts and reply to people. Sometimes people won’t see your replies or won’t reply back, but many times you can start up conversations and get people talking.
Also, come up with something useful for your followers. Can you regulary (but not too often) post funny quotes, interesting pictures, useful links? Watch the traffic from the people you are following and see what you consider valuable and interesting and try to provide something similar.